National Respiratory Patient Advocacy Award

Presented by

AARC logoAmerican Association for Respiratory Care

The Faces Foundation logoThe Faces Foundation

The National Respiratory Patient Advocacy Award is the only nationally-recognized advocacy program dedicated to honoring outstanding registered respiratory therapists nominated by leadership.

The award is a collaboration of American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) and The FACES Foundation (Family & Caregiver Education & Support). It commemorates a vital member of the healthcare team that empowers patients to breathe easy: the respiratory therapist. This consummate professional appreciates the “individual” instead of the “patient” and is dedicated to the principal that every breath matters. Nominations come from facilities across the continuum of care where registered respiratory therapists are actively engaged as a champion of patient and family-centered care.

Read About Our 2017 Finalists

Award Focus

Award Focus

  • Patient and family-centered care: Evidence provided as testimonials or other documentation that nominee is actively engaged in, or a champion of, patient and family-centered respiratory care.
  • Quality and safety: Evidence that nominee is actively engaged in efforts to improve the quality and safety of respiratory care.
  • Advocacy for respiratory care as a profession: Evidence that nominee sets an exemplary level of professionalism and clearly demonstrates advocacy for the profession.
  • Nominee meets definition of an advocate: Evidence that nominee is a champion, supporter, promoter, fighter, crusader and proponent.
  • Nominee works across continuums and/or disciplines: Evidence that nominee’s work leads to increased integration of programs and services, resulting in improved outcomes for the patients.
  • Nominee’s work exemplified best practices: Evidence that nominee’s work results in improved outcomes for patients and clients.
  • Development of an innovative idea or suggestion: Resulting in a change of service delivery model, cost savings, time savings, workflow improvement or general safety improvement.
Submit a Nomination The deadline is August 31.


Nominations come from facilities where registered respiratory therapists provide direct care to patients with cardiopulmonary diseases and disorders.

Award finalists are chosen by a national review committee, with representatives selected by AARC and The FACES Foundation. Each year, the award recipient and two other finalists are honored before an audience of patients, caregivers, advocacy groups and clinicians at the Annual Respiratory Patient Advocacy Summit held a day prior to the AARC Congress. Finalists are also recognized in other AARC publications.

The award recipient receives complimentary travel with hotel accommodations for 2 nights, as well as, complimentary registration to attend the AARC Congress. Award finalists (2) will receive a one-year paid extension to their AARC membership.

National Respiratory Patient Advocacy Award

The Sculpture

In the spirit of The National Respiratory Patient Advocacy Award, MK Shannon adapted the sculpture “Unity.” Unity, a pewter sculpture sitting atop a black marble base, consists of a trio of figures lifting a fully opened butterfly. The figures represent the triad of support upon which the person with life-threatening pulmonary illness depends. The figure on the left represents the patient’s loved ones: family and close friends. The figure on the right represents the integrated medical team. The center, and central, figure is the committed, gifted respiratory therapist, who works side by side with the patient, families and the health care team. The respiratory therapist is key to improving lung function; the lungs are represented here by the extended wings of the butterfly. It almost appears as if the butterfly emerged from its chrysalis and is ready to take flight. The symbolism resonates for those who have watched an RRT continually seek more effective ways to enable patients to breathe comfortably.

Breathing is natural and the essence of life. Patients with lung disease cherish every breath they take. AARC, The FACES Foundation, and the sculpture “Unity” honor the outstanding respiratory professional who strives each and every day to make that breath as easy as possible.

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